Special Projects Fund

Grantee Name

RotaCare, Inc.

Funding Area

Special Projects Fund

Publication Date

December 2012

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

October 1, 2008 – May 27, 2010


The National Association of Free Clinics estimates that there are more than 1,200 free clinics in the United States.

Free clinics use volunteer physicians, nurses, other health practitioners, and non-medical personnel to provide free medical, dental, pharmacy, and other behavioral health services to low-income people who do not have insurance or other means to pay for care. RotaCare, a free clinic on Long Island, relies completely on a cadre of more than 100 volunteer doctors, pharmacists, dentists, nurses, paraprofessionals, and clerical workers. However, by 2008, many of RotaCare’s volunteers were aging out, and it needed to replace and augment its volunteer base.

In August 2008, the New York Health Foundation awarded RotaCare a grant to develop and implement strategies to recruit more medical and non-medical volunteer staff.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Hired a volunteer manager who engaged volunteers, board members, and the staff of Long Island hospitals, medical societies, and other community organizations through a multifaceted outreach and educational strategy.
  • Recruited 54 new volunteers: 31 non-medical volunteers (reception, prescription assistance, front desk, and translators); 18 nurses; 3 pharmacy personnel; and 2 physicians. This surpassed the goal of recruiting 43 volunteers.
  • Launched a comprehensive website to feature services available at the clinic and volunteering opportunities.
  • Developed a RotaCare messaging strategy for the website, brochures, and other outreach materials.
  • Established a Department of Volunteer Recruitment that created applications for medical and nonmedical volunteers, prepared recruitment advertisements, and created a database of contacts.